New lidar sensor


Japan’s Hokuyo Automatic Company has released a new lidar sensor that uses optical beamforming technology from US-based Lumotive.

Hokuyo is well known in the port sector for its sensors for anti-collision applications, on both manned and automated cranes. Lumotive specialises in the optical semiconductor area.

Lumotive has developed “Light Control Metasurface” (LCM) optical beamforming technology that uses solid-state, programmable optics to support 3D sensing.

“Lumotive’s LCM technology leverages the power of dynamic metasurfaces to manipulate and direct light in previously unachievable ways, eliminating the need for the bulky, expensive, and fragile mechanical moving parts found in traditional lidar systems. As a true solid-state beam steering component for lidar, LCM chips enable unparalleled stability and accuracy in 3D object recognition and distance measurement, and effectively handles multi-path interference, which is crucial for industrial environments where consistent performance and safety are paramount,” Lumotive said in a statement.

Lumotive’s LM10 LCM, a chip-scale solid-state beam steering solution for lidar, has now been integrated into the Hokuyo YLM-10LX sensor, which will be released as a commercial product this year.

The sensor transmits one line of laser, scanned vertically and received line by line. “Compared with a time-of-flight camera that flashes the light to the whole field of view, the multi-pass interference can be mitigated. That enables [us] to measure distances more accurately in [the] mobile environment,” Hokuyo explained.

“With the industrial sectors increasingly demanding high-performance, reliable lidar systems that also have the flexibility to address multiple applications, our continued partnership with Lumotive allows us to harness the incredible potential of LCM beam steering and to deliver innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of our customers,” said Ms Chiai Tabata, product and marketing lead at Hokuyo.

“This product will surely enable innovative applications that could not be realised with conventional mechanical scanning technology, and we aim to expand business with a focus on mobile applications such as AGV/ AMR and service robots, where the use of LiDAR is expected to expand in the future,” Hokuyo concluded.

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